Foam Containers Banned in the District of Columbia

Story by FNN Reporter Isaiah Watson. Edited by FNN Reporter Sean Beach. Picture from Sea Angels Green Beach Clean, Inc.

FEB. 4, 2016: On January 20, 2016, I was reading a little bit about the banning of foam containers in Washington, DC. Foam has been one of the most used materials for food containers in Washington, DC. For many years foam containers, also known as “Styrofoam” have been used for food storage in fast food restaurants, food trucks, delis, cafes, Chinese restaurants (carry outs) and at fast food restaurants in malls. Now, they have been banned due to environmental issues.

Many people take-out food in foam containers from restaurants, but instead of taking the leftovers and throwing them in the trash, they throw them out of their car windows. Due to weather conditions all year round, wind has been blowing the containers into the Anacostia River and, as a result, they pollute DC and all of it’s rivers. Foam takes hundreds of years to break down, causing massive water pollution. Therefore, as of January 1, 2016, foam containers, cups and other foam materials have been banned from the Washington, DC area.

This ban does not include foam materials that people purchase to use inside of their homes (foam plates, cups, and bowls), foam materials that are sealed before grocery stores receive them (cartons of eggs packaged outside of

DC), or foam materials that are used to package raw meat, fish or poultry. Businesses that use foam containers will save money because foam products are highly expensive if they are bought in bulk, whereas non-foam materials are cheaper and cost-efficient.

The ban was kind of a waste to me, because people are still throwing out paper, plastic bags, foam bowls, and foam cups which means that the ban doesn't really work. And that is not a good conclusion. In the future Washington, DC should enforce it’s law. What do you think about the foam containers being banned in Washington, DC? Leave your comments in the box below.

Isaiah Watson and Sean Beach are 7th grade scholars at Friendship Tech Prep Academy.